Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said that the Government is to tax online betting and to introduce licences for overseas betting providers.

Mr Cowen made his comments in a speech delivered last night at a dinner hosted by The Irish Field newspaper in Dublin.

He said the Government will introduce legislation to ensure that overseas betting providers comply with a licensing regime that will permit them to sell their products here.

'This will have the additional benefit of facilitating the extension of the tax regime for the betting industry to all those providing online and telephone betting and so underpin funding for the racing industry,' he said.

He added that all forms of betting - including betting offered over the internet, other remote platforms or over the telephone - should make a contribution.

'Such betting must be brought within the tax net, not just because it will increase revenue, but also because it will mean that those currently not contributing to securing the future of important indigenous industries will now make that contribution,' the Taoiseach said.